The thermometer may still say summer, but for many areas of the country, it's time for our kids to strap on the new backpacks, lace up the new sneakers, and head back to the classroom. (And for the rest of the U.S., that first day isn't all that far away.) But once we take the obligatory photos to post on all our social media feeds, double-check that we didn't forget the lunch boxes, and wave a nervous good-bye at the door, we moms often wonder what really happens on the first day of school.
Even if you've been through the drill once or twice (or three or four times), the return to school is still a little nerve-wracking every time for both parents and children, as they wonder what to expect. For example, entering kindergarten is different from the first day of preschool, because this may be the first time a child is in a school that also has older classes. First grade brings new levels of independence, such as being allowed to walk to the restroom alone. And as kids get older, homework and social pressures increase. Then there are the odd little worries that you may not even realize your child has. When I was young, I used to lie awake every September fretting that I wouldn't recognize a single person in my class, even though I went to a small elementary school where everyone knew everyone.
To take some of the mystery and nervousness away, here are some insider clues about what really happens once the first bell rings and the classrooms fill with excited new students.